Monday, September 16, 2013

Justea, Kenyan Black Tea

Justea Description:
Our whole leaf Kenyan black tea is malty, fresh, clean and full bodied.

“The fresh factor makes it explode on the palate! It cups out as being very very good tea… I think we got a winner here.”
~Brendan Waye, Tea Sommelier

Sample provided by JusTea

My Review:
This tea is about more than just tea. This is about giving the little guy an opportunity to succeed. I did not realize Kenya was the major supplier of black tea found in most tea bags. The majority of that tea is grown on small farms. It is then sold to the factories for processing. The farmer ends up making approximately 1% of the final selling price. Even with the bonus system in place in Kenya most farmers live in poverty.

JusTea is a non-profit organization hoping to change this cycle for as many farmers as they can. Their dream is to teach the farmers to hand process the leaf themselves in the orthodox method. This will allow the farmers to increase profits and provide a better future for their families.

So how is the tea? I opened the sample bag and set the leaf free. This is definitely not standard CTC dust found in your average grocery store bag. This is broken pieces of pekoe. Think about the size of Twinings loose leaf. The scent is nicely malt and seems very fresh.

I used 2 tsp and water heated to 190F, steeping for 3 minutes. The resulting brew was much deeper towards the red end of the orange scale than it appears in this picture. It is really pretty.

The taste is very surprising. I was expecting tea - you know, Lipton or some other common tasting brew. Nope, not even close. This is wonderfully malty. It is slightly sweet and not at all bitter. This has no rough edges. It is silky smooth and very full flavored. The way I prepared it, this is slightly drying but does not seem astringent.

I am very surprised and impressed by this tea. Why on earth have the factories been grinding this up into powder and hiding it in a bag? Ordering from the JusTea partnership allows you to support the farmers directly. It is a good cause and an excellent tea.

Visit the JusTea website.

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